Starbucks and BigData: It’s Personal.

Using consumer data, the coffee chain designed its new line of products to complement the habits it gleaned from its own stores. Sarah Whitten, Starbucks knows how you like your coffee.

Maybe you’ve been here too: You’re buying your morning coffee, making small talk with your favorite, dreamy barista, when they give you a delicious hot drink, their fingers touching lightly against yours. Strong eye contact game, great smile. Is this your chance? You’ve thought about giving your number before. After all, they’re understatedly flirty, the most significant provider in your life, and definitely the first person you desire to see in the morning—a recipe for love, right? Then again, perhaps you’re being creepy, and they’re only doing their job. How do you tell the difference between genuine chemistry and good customer service? This is one of the secrets that has made Starbucks have a consistency of store growth, customer loyalty, and demand.

Starbucks enables baristas to do “surprise and delight” to their consumers by giving the unexpected. They offer friendly greetings or common attention without taking much effort. They may get your drink, sing on your birthday or tell you a terrible joke while you wait in the queue, but you go away laughing anyway, having gained more than you anticipated from their encounter.

Doing all this gives the customers’ confidence to talk to them and connect with them inculcating a personalized experience and ensuring customer loyalty. This shows how what is described as a “micro-interactions” can create a reason to remain loyal beyond the coffee. It also helps them to understand what their consumers want by their product offering and make it in a way that is appealing to them through the uses that they have on a particular occasion. They evaluate and note service offered, price structure, and the overall experience of working with the consumer.

The company says it talked to its baristas about how customers ordered coffee, lattes, and tea….. – Sarah Whitten, Starbucks knows how you like your coffee.

The Starbucks uses this consumer to baristas interactions to collect data that helps them design its new line of products and complement the habits that are gathered from its stores. The company says it speaks to its baristas about how customers order coffee, tea, and lattes and collect industry reports about at-home consumption. They have used that data to create K-Cups and bottled beverages to sell in grocery stores. Starbucks is tapping into a “megatrend” by offering this type of customization in its products.

These menu enhancements and grocery store product launches are more than just providing customers with their favorite products. It’s about making its consumers to shun other coffee brands while at home. It’s a market-share grab that is wildly successful.

Some 43 percent of the tea-drinking customers skip the sugar, according to the company, which cites a 2015 report conducted by consumer research firm Mintel. Some 25 percent of consumers don’t add milk to their iced coffee when drinking the beverage at home, Starbucks says, citing another industry report. – Sarah Whitten, Starbucks knows how you like your coffee.

Overall, Starbucks chief objective is to deliver high-quality products to the most customers possible. Using “big data” has enabled them to strategically build their brick-and-mortar and product offerings to serve their caffeine craving customers. Although they have done some impressive work, I think more data can be examined in the future. Patrick O’Hagan, the director of market planning at Starbucks, has stated that the company is in the process of developing their culture from a retail brand to a data analysis brand. They have been working to build this from the ground by changing their hiring model to focus on data scientists that understand a variety of data analysis tools and can describe the yields of analysis in an actionable and “human” way. In a nutshell, the greatest customer service, as illustrated by Starbucks customer service, is that which builds a personal connection. I think this is one of the most significant steps for Starbucks to improve the “personal experience” for their customers greatly.


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